Friday, December 09, 2011

Internet hackers now target Indian bureaucrats’ mails, for documents and dollars

MORE and more Indian bureaucrats have become the target of sophisticated internet hackers who aim at collecting sensitive documents, or at time merely pocketing a few hundred dollars. Only two days ago, a senior Indian Railway Traffic Service official received hundreds of phone calls from his family and friends as many of his contacts received an email from his yahoo account narrating a sad story of the officer being robbed in Spain. What was urgently asked for was a help of 960 Euros. His official designation and contacts were pasted below the email to give it a more authentic look.
To give a sense of how the story was built, here is the fraud-star’s email: “Hello, Sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip to Spain for a program, I am presently in Spain and am having some difficulties here, it’s so hard for me to believe this happened to me, I was robbed on my way to the hotel. Cash and cell-phone and credit cards were also taken from me. Please I need you to help me with a loan of 960 Euros to pay my hotel bills and to get myself back home. I've been to the embassy and Police but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I will return the money back to you as soon as I return, let me know if you can be of any help! I don’t have a phone where I can be reached. I am so confused right now. Please let me know immediately.” It was a harrowing time for the bureaucrat before he restored his mail account.
A year ago, the website of India’s leading investigative agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was reportedly hacked by a group who called it “Pakistani Cyber Army”. The site was hacked again. A finance ministry site on public private partnership was also hacked, but it was restored immediately. Significantly, NIC is the root server which controls Indian government sites including that of CBI.
According to some reports, India’s Intelligence Bureau wanted all Indian government employees to use the official “NIC” email where the server is located in India only. The NIC has created over 3 lakh email accounts for government employees, but many officials prefer to use free emails like gmail, yahoo or hotmail because those are easy to access and are loaded with many more features than the sarkari NIC mail.
Bloomberg Businessweek, one of the most influential business magazines in the world, recently quoted a report by Information Warfare Monitor, a research group associated with the University of Toronto, to say that Chinese hackers attempted to access documents from India’s missile programs in April 2010.

Action and Appointments
a) Rajive Kumar, 1981 batch UP cadre IAS, has been appointed as additional secretary in the cabinet secretary.
b) Ms Ghazala Meenai, a 1985 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer, has been appointed as joint secretary in the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
c) Sanjiv Gautam, a 1995 batch IRS officer, has been appointed as officer-on-special duty (OSD) in the personal staff of minister of state for home Jitendra Singh.

No comments:

Post a Comment